Texas Instruments (TI) has unveiled a new wireless technology which it claims cuts the cost and complexity of bringing the high-speed data rates of optical networking to end users.
TI's reference design system, called the Optical Wireless Solution, gives end users a 100Mbits connection to their local area network (Lan).
The company said that the system allows developers to wirelessly deploy 100Mbps 802.3-compliant ethernet connections, which are 100 times greater than currently available wireless systems.
Jose Melendez, worldwide manager, analog micro-electrical mechanical system (MEMS) networking products at TI, explained that the solution will enable network managers to choose a wireless format as a direct alternative to Cat 5 wiring in 100Mbps switched networks with no degradation in performance. TI is targeting small office networks of 12 to 24 users.
"With nearly one billion ethernet ports on the planet, the opportunities for this reference design are real," Melendez said.
According to TI, the optical system lets corporate administrators create Lans through lasers and mirrors. At the heart of the Optical Wireless Solution are TI's analog MEMS mirror, optical transceiver, mixed-signal, analog and DSP components.
The optical system will require a digital signal processor, which aims the mirror quickly and precisely to enable connections between several cubicle-mounted devices, and a base station near the ceiling in the middle of an office.
Melendez explained that the mirrors concentrate a signal at a particular point which allows original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to send data rates of up to 100Mbps, while standard IR ports hit their target by spreading the light across a wide area which lowers the bandwidth that can be sent over a particular beam.
He also said that the company is suggesting the use of one mirror per user, which will create an ethernet switch with a dedicated connection to each user. TI is developing a network base station which would include up to 24 mirrors.
With the new technology, TI moves from components and chips into the optical networking arena and will compete with companies such as JDS Uniphase, Corning and Applied Micro Circuits.
Initial OEM products based on TI's reference design are planned for roll out during June.
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